@@@ Nicole Bus: Rain (Roc Nation, 2019) All three of today’s listens are off a 2019 All Music notable release email that’s been in my email box. Nicole bus is a Dutch r&b singer which will change the proceedings for sure. This is the 8th track of the record and it’s a lush piano driven midtempo sad banger. The player clicked through to the next track With You which has a decidedly retro feel which I’m torn about. I will give the opener ‘Mr. Big Shot’ a peep and when I hear that late ’90s/early oughts drum beat it’s clear where this music is rooted. Bus is an above average singer but overall I find the tracks lacking spark and a bit of flavor. Again that’s just me.
@@@ Jim Noir: Deep Blue View (Dook, 2019) Opens with what I would call a indie hippie flavor and strong California faded vibes. Super comforting sounds with just a schmear of weird up in there. The first tune Good Mood is a feel good jam with obvious intentions so I thought I would skip to the next one which I like more. I find the combination of indie rock sounds and electronic sounds well done here. I prefer a bit more growl or muscle but that’s just me. I’m not a huge fan of the third tune Hexagons but I have a sense a sliver of the listening public might like this formula.
@@@ Eddy Current Suppression Ring: Vicariously Living (Castle Face, 2020) Post punk heroes from Australia. Nice punky guitar squall, not Sonic Youth more rocking than feedback. There’s a straight up approach up here that I appreciate — set ’em up and knock ’em down without. The sounds are good but no epic production values here. The tempos here are not the manic Dead Kennedys about to lose your mind. I do crave a little more energy but I appreciate this outfit and feel I’ve described them accurately. I checked out the next song ‘Future Self’ and I like it even more than the one clipped below.
@@@ Andy Stott: Hard to Tell (Modern Love, 2021) All three of today’s listens are off this week’s All Music notable release email. This track is slotted as electronic on Apple Music but to me it sounds like spaghetti western guitar music and now a female singer. As my definition goes this is stretching the definition. I’ve been duped, this is indie music, lemme check another track and see if it’s instrumental. 5 tracks have a singer, this singer, and four don’t and I will give a quick peep to the third track ‘Repetitive Strain’. The intro here is a repeating phrase that allows the metronome like rhythm to start, pause, and then the huge multi-octave arpeggio with a pipe like synth patch. I’m not sure what he’s going for here, it’s a bit dancefloor, a bit funky, a bit abstract so for me it’s not gelling. Plus I don’t know how to reconcile this track with the last one. As I finish up here here, he’s expanded the rhythmic components and is offering up an undercover dancefloor banger. I like it all right but I remain a bit befuddled but not in a snobby way.
@@@ Unschooling: Social Chameleon (Howlin’ Banana Records, 2021) Angular, nerdy return of Devo style rock with more guitar energy. The band is mixed super high while the singer is stuffed in the middle like the jelly of the donut. In this case more dough and less jelly which is fine, it’s got just enough jelly. The downside of the low vocalist is that I don’t really know what the song is about besides the title and I consume the track as almost instrumental music which is fine as their strength is in band playing.
@@@ Binker Golding: Lunar Wind (Byrd Out, 2021) Slotted as avant garde jazz the instrumentation here looks set to be sax, acoustic bass and drums, possibly more but we just got started. It’s a 15 minute free jazz banger that opens scruffy and stays scruffy and I like scruffy as it builds tension in this first third of the track. I could use a slightly thicker bass sound and a little thinness chopped off the horn as when I listen to long pieces with abstract playing I want that lushness, it adds to my experience. I’m not going to peep this whole piece but I’m going to check in on a couple of other pieces — I like the horn and the sound of the trio on the second track Reflection. I’m enjoying the braying and the energy of the trio here.
@@@ Ugly Beautiful: Sunrise (Self-released, 2021) I don’t remember how I got to this track, a rare fuckup on my part. Slotted as rock, this comes out a tad indie, a little rocking and a bit of classic rock. Then the brooding, proggy singer comes and I deflate. Vocalists are a personal thing so I won’t tell others what to like if they don’t bust my balls about what I like (or don’t like). Big drum sound, pretty polished and not crushed. The guitar player is good but I prefer a generally rougher style of rock — this is more what you’d hear in a gym with a lot of middle aged CEO types. More stylish than ballsy and as I said previously it’s personal preferences yo.
@@@ Matt Sweeney & Bonnie Prince Billie: Hall of Death (Drag City, 2021) I saw this record shouted out on the Twatter. I’ve heard a fair amount of Prince Billie, he’s a darling and shit. There are two tracks up with more coming just a few days from now and all I can say is they bit Noura Mint Seymali in such a profoundly biting bitch ass way with this guitar melody and sound and even the drumbeat, yikes I don’t know what to say. I got a litte distracted clicking around the apple music player to see if my mind done gone and started playing tricks on me again and alas I will leave it up to regular readers to determine whether this is a hardcore bite or an homage. They do mix in some indie and country tracks, but the truth is I can’t get over the bit.
@@@ Shelley: All Pride Aside (Atlantic, 2021) I really dug Shelley back in the day when he was DRAM. If I remember correctly it was a marijuana celebration track and this is slow love jam. Less a booty jam than a love jam. A lot of really smooth sounds and the overall vibe of the track is a softer one. Very nice bass, very melodic and prominent in the mix. A female singer hits the mic and she sings in a lower register than Shelley as he goes falsetto. They’re grooving out on the hook ‘addicted to love’ and ‘enable you/enable me’ and while it’s not my favorite cup of tea it’s the full black hippie/soul updated Age of Aquarius trip. He sings well for sure. It appears Shelley wants to move away from the rhyme circuit and hit the r&b circuit and he’s got the skills to do it.
@@@ ENNY: Peng Black Girls (FAMM, 2020) Off last week’s Crack Magazine. Today’s post is a draft post from the end of February that I’m using today as I’m busy as fuck and I don’t make loot doing this blog so I gotta get shit done and right this blog. This is UK hip hop with a female MC and female singers. I like the sung parts a whole bunch and the rhymed sections much less so. The beat is very close to something you would hear from a kit drummer and the keyboard vamp is also quite engaging and catchy. I think from the use of the perjorative term bloodclot that this these are some British folks with Caribbean roots. The second half of the tune really heats up and overall the track is just underneath jumping up and down for me.
@@@ The Los Sundowns: Los Angeles (Lechehouse Music, 2020) Off this week’s WRIR playlist email. It’s a world music tinged surf type tune that opens up the record. A bunch of minimalist leaning guitar tracks over straight rock drumming with occasional vocal stabs that punctuate the proceedings with a bit more direct humanity. The guitar playing is only surpassed by the arranging skills here, this is tightly focused and arranged and I give respect to that. The player clicked through to the next track titled ‘Endless Bummer’ which features some pretty stylish interaction between the organ player and the rest of the band. I’m pretty sure a band call Los Sundowns is not designed to make you jump up and down but these guys do a really good job accomplishing what they set out to do. These guys do a really good job of infusing surf with Latin feels.
@@@ Shakka: One for the Road (Westbourne, 2021) All three of today’s listens are from the Line of Best Fit weekly email. I started this blog post by listening from the bottom so I’m excited to exit white people’s land. I’m seeing this artist blurbed an artist’s artist. I’m not a super engaged r&b guy though I do listen to a fair amount but I like this tune — he’s very confident but not obnoxious on the microphone and the arrangement is pretty straightforward but far from disposable. It’s not particularly productive to get into what’s trap and what’s not trap but this is firm without trafficking in what I hear this as the hardness of trap. I like that hard flow in some instances but not necessarily in my r&b. I would call this an above average track with the vocal performance standing tall.
@@@ BSI: Vesturbaejar Beach (Self released, 2021) Bouncy style ’80s influenced guitar/synth pop with a dash of slapdash that gives it a more human feel. Female singer, pumped up drums, pumped up and straight, some mild guitar slashing and then a fair amount of synth sauce over the top. I’m not sure what to say, I’m not a big pop guy, but it does what it sets out to do, so if you dig the super guitar pop have at it.
@@@ Porter Robinson: dullscythe (Mom and Pop, 2021) Blurbed as big tent EDM, I’m a bit skeptical of that term. It opens up glitchy and panning back and forth. I hope it settles down forthwith, but it’s not. I guess that this artists suffered after his initial breakthrough and I do appreciate that the chopped and glitched smashing up of the musical material would reflect some of the internal anguish he experienced. About 2/3s of the way through the tune does de-chop and goes out on a blanket of synths and a simple piano melody. I appreciate this musician’s arranging skills but I don’t love the results. The player clicked through to the next track and the tune going right now is much more of that big tent cheese sandwich one would expect from big tent pimps.
@@@ Moneybagg Yo: A Gangsta’s Pain (Interscope, 2021) The title track is the last track and that usually in my experience it’s not a good reflection of the record so I switched up to track 7 called ‘If Pain was a Person’. Solid trap with a superfat bass pulse but the most notable aspect is the guitar samples which are retro and sound great. Mr. Yo or Mr. Moneybagg is quite skilled on the microphone, I really have to work hard to catch his rhymes as he’s going fast. He paints the emotional state of living in the ‘hood and the values encased in that environment. Lots of street gossip and a guest MC that gives the low down as to how much money Mr. Yo is making in the game. Love the bass and the guitar, appreciate his microphone work and his emphasis on the street pyschology and less on the guns and bitches and whatnot.
@@@ H.E.R.: Come Through (RCA, 2021) Another mainstream track this time a slow booty jam. H.E.R. is working the sultry tip with extra mustard and she’s inviting him to come through tonight, you know swing by and get to know her more intimately. Chris Brown comes as a guest and he’s working not the sultry tip but the emotional guy. The chorus is very good, I dig it. I don’t love the acoustic guitar and the rest of the arrangement is pretty standard though the use of the big bass is very catchy at certain chord change points in the track. There’s enough here I won’t denounce the fingersnaps. There are very few spots in any track where fingersnaps are the right move.
@@@ Kero Kero Bonito: The Princess and the Clock (Polyvinyl, 2021) I saw this outfit profiled by Pitchfork on the Twatter as well as seeing it mentioned elsewhere. These days with alternative music you either get some guitar-centric squalor throwback or you get this sort of indie spray electro cheese. Friendly female voice with plenty of glitch sauce, a lot of sounds borrowed and updated from the ’80s this is really not my cup of cheese. I’m not furious about it but blech, I’m guessing the point of this is to help sell blue jeans at the mall. The glitch with the white boy drum beat translated to a drum machine is especially troublesome. The singer too, this is some Saturday morning cartoon shit, oy. I’m sure they’re awesome people but this is not for me.
@@@ JAN VAN de Angel: Streams (Teranga Beat, 2021) Two pre release tracks from an upcoming world music release that I got to via WRIR weekly playlist email. I’m sampling the second of the tracks and my initial impression is I really like the sound of the record, the leader of the group is a drummer and he’s a Greek dude who has been blending and mashing up genres for an extended period of time. And although the description describes his thing as spiritual jazz smashed up with Greek music I hear it as proggy rock with some world music feels and a few jazz sprinkles. The sound is tremendous, while the playing is a bit to fusion-y for my taste but if he got out there and focused more on jazz wisely and got a different bass sound going I would be on this like a stink on a monkey.
@@@ Charlotte OC: Bad Bitch (Embassy of Music, 2021) I got to this track via a music publicist email. Ms. OC is from Ireland and she has a bit of confessional business going in the lyrics and I wanted to check out this track because the PR mail that she conceived of the verse as one part of herself and the chorus as another part of herself. I wanted to hear how she made that work and in this case it’s pretty effective as the chorus changes sonically and is quite stripped back which is the opposite of what you would expect. Overall the song doesn’t leave a tremendous impression but I liked that concept and am happy I checked it out.
@@@ Magneto: Requiem por Satana ( , 2021) I got to this Polish group’s new record via the music critic Ted Gioia who twats new music on the Twatter. I can’t find this record up on the Apple Music so we have to settle for run of the mill fucking GooglePimpTube. These guys hail from Poland and they rock instrumental guitar centered music with strong surf flavors but influenced by other cultures and sounds. Tempo is varied, they dip into Turkish style funk, Hawaiian business, et. Regular readers know I enjoy a certain level of moving around stylistically while still retaining a common core and as far as I can hear the common core here is the instrumentation — a simple trio format teed up and ready to ‘rock’.
@@@ Bruiser Wolf: Dope Game Stupid ( , 2021) Off the Pitchfork via the Twatter! Love the twatter, really do. I can’t find this track on the Apple Music so I’m forced to listen on the GooglePimpTube. Oh Lord the GooglePimpTube! I would put this in the left field hip hop with a strange, noodly guitar at listener destabilizing levels. The rhyming is brisk with lyrics that I’m having trouble grocking. I believe this is a well veiled satire of the dope game with all manner of odd images thrown in — the dope game stupid but the boys still do it. I don’t love the guitar work but I’ve switched over to his new album, noop he’s a guest on this record by JUS so no more info for now. I’d listen to more I like the energy of his rhyming work.
@@@ Chillemi: Evil Eye (Taxi Gauche, 2021) I got to this track via a music publicist email and only a listen will reveal whether the track is better than the pr email. It opens with a lonesome alt country feeling, then come the dual male/female slack singing — essentially it’s an updated Leonard Cohen type track with a fair dollop of twang. I’d like to hear more that distinguishes itself from what’s come before but that’s just me. I guess you could say the country twang centered mostly in the guitars would qualify but regular readers know I’m a bit of a bitch and am often looking for more. This is good for office dwellers, normies.
@@@ Dreya Mac: Time (ColorsxStudios, 2021) British hip hop, you know I love it! Female MC hittin’ the mic with above average energy and some sounds you don’t often hear — the singalong and faintly African/Caribbean flavoring. I like the sounds here, the slightly chopped and off kilter feel, just slightly, and her smooth rhyming and singing over the top. Not jumping up and down but definitely an interesting package.
@@@ Vocab Slick: Atonement (DR, 2021) Off a music PR email. Anchored by a swelly church organ and a mellow trap beat the MC (oh there’s a second one and later more I think) and lyrically it’s the opposite of gangster business. The first MC seemed a bit jumbly on the mic but the microphone flow tightens up over the course of the tune and the sounds are pretty nice. With a title like ‘atonement’ it would stand to reason that this is a Christian hip hop track but that’s not entirely clear. I appreciate its non gangster vibe and the sounds.
@@@ Peaches: Pussy Mask (Third Man, 2021) Out on Jack White’s Third Man, it comes out as a cross between Megan the Stallion with some detuned power chords smashed up on it and poured over as a sauce. Every line starts with pussy — pussy, wear a mask, pussy clean no infection, pussy stand up erection. So it’s a complete celebration of pussy and all aspects of it, Peaches’ pussy is fully human it wears a mask, it has feelings and desires, it’s been personified. The sounds are what I refer to as strip club hip hop — trashy and proud of it. I would like the lyrics more if I liked the beat more. I like the guitar all right but it’s not enough. It goes out with a section repeating listen to Fauci so maybe it’s more about the ‘rona than other aspects of the three dimensional concept known as pussy. NSFW, dummies!